UN Radio: Quartet presents Road Map
The Quartet on the Middle East Peace Process today presented to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority a Road Map to peace in the region. In a joint statement, the quartet said the road map is aimed at realising the vision shared by the United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations -of two States - Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The statement said the members of the Quartet would work with the parties and key regional actors towards the implementation of the Road Map, in accordance with that vision.
Road Map a Real Chance to Establish Comprehensive peace: Annan
Reaction was quick to Wednesday's handing over of the Road Map to the Israelis and Palestinians. A UN spokesman said the Secretary-General believes that this performance-based and goal-driven peace plan, gives the Israeli and Palestinian peoples a real chance to end their long and painful conflict, and thus a chance to establish a just and comprehensive peace. Earlier, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters the two parties would wish to review the document and the Quartet would want to discuss with them the next steps and implementation of the road map:
"Obviously this road map, I believe, offers the two parties the chance to bring an end to a long and painful conflict and I hope as we press ahead with this implementation, both parties would embrace it and see it as an opportunity to put an end to this conflict."
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General has congratulated Abu Mazen on his swearing in as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and on the approval of his cabinet by the Palestinian legislative Council.
Annan Condemns Tel Aviv Blast
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has condemned the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel. At least three people were killed and 49 wounded in the bomb attack. At the same time, he strongly urged Israelis and Palestinians not to let such a "morally reprehensible act derail the resumption of the peace process." United Nations Spokesman Fred Eckhard says the Secretary-General called on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and begin the implementation of the Road Map:
"He reiterates his appeal to the Palestinians to pursue non-violent policies and urges the Palestinian Authority to make every effort to stop these terrorist acts against Israelis. The Secretary-General remains convinced that there is no alternative to a political solution of the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The Road Map is a new peace plan worked out by the Quartet on the Middle East made up of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.
Annan urges Security Council to ensure Iraqis choose own system of government
The UN Security Council was urged
Wednesday to ensure that the Iraqi people can freely choose
their own system of government and political leadership. UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan made the appeal as the Council
met to discuss the UN's role in post-conflict situations
around the world.
He said the council is faced with a new situation in Iraq, which he described as "unique", and for which he said the council needs to develop a corresponding response.
Shortly after addressing the council, the Secretary-General told reporters he believes it is important to normalise the situation in the country and bring Iraq back into the fold of family of nations:
"There is no doubt that the sanctions would have to be lifted and the oil-for food would have to be phased out. The question is when and how it's done."
The Secretary-General says the UN member states are discussing this issue.
Two issues on Iraq need to be resolved: Russia
Russian Federation says it's ready to discuss all the issues
pertaining to Iraq. Russia's Ambassador Sergey Lavrov says
there are two issues that need to be solved.
The first, he says, is to determine the fate of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ensure that the UN monitoring commission and the nuclear agency finalise their mandate which he adds, would allow the lifting of sanctions:
"And the second thing is to ensure that there is a legitimate and internationally recognized government in Iraq. In the meantime, the oil-for food programme could be further used and in the absence of a government it should be, we believe, discussed whether to give the authority to the Secretary-General for the entire oil-for food programme functioning, if there is a need on the ground."
Ambassador Lavrov says Russia has been suggesting discussion of these ideas and that many other Security Council members are ready.
ECOWAS pleads for UN support in Cote d'Ivoire
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has asked the UN Security Council to help it persuade donors to finance an almost 3-fold increase in its peacekeeping force in Cote d'Ivoire.